Cost of Living 3:
by Fur and Fantasy
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file
Jake set the book off to the side when he heard a car pull in and went to the front room, hoping it was something simple. He offered a silent 'thank you' to any powers that were listening when he saw that it was Callie's car and abruptly wondered if he should take it back when he saw the serious unease of her expression.
"Hi, Jake." The blonde shekat waved at him as she got out. "Is Chance around?"
"I'm afraid not, Miss Briggs. Actually, I need to talk to you about the reason. Want to come inside?"
"Sure," she nodded easily, though she looked even more disturbed under the surface. "Ebon is okay?"
"Physically, yeah," Jake nodded holding the door for her. "He's working through some issues, though, so he's not really out and about that much. Is there something wrong?"
"I hope not." She said softly as he closed the door behind them. "I'm probably just jumping to conclusions."
"About? No problems with Ebon, I hope," he said.
"No, no, his paperwork is going quite well, though I will need to actually talk to him to get the rest finished." She shook her head slightly. "I came by because I found something out that's going to be very important to you and Chance. Your ... other job ... isn't as secret as you probably think." She said quietly.
"We've been finding that out lately," Jake said with a frown. "Feral told you?"
The startled look that danced across her sea-green eyes was answer enough. "No, a friend of mine had a few portraits done for her own collection by a forensic artist. A few minor details are off, but there's no mistaking who's in them, with and without masks." She explained quietly. "She didn't recognize you, but she isn't a customer here."
"Crud. We just found out that Feral figured out who we were today. Chance didn't explain how, but they're talking now. Honestly, I was just trying to get hold of you now."
"Does Ebon know about you?" Callie asked softly.
"Yeah. Confronted us about it after we took care of that sludge slug. But he's not going to be telling anybody, and I have a feeling we could trust any of your friends."
"You can." She nodded quickly. "She's as much a fan as I am. The city needs you two. Feral, I'm not so sure about him. Did you have any ideas? Was that why you called me?"
"Thanks for the vote of confidence. Chance wasn't sure why Feral wanted to talk to him, but he thought that Feral might have wanted us to start working under his command. Apparently the two of them have some history that I didn't know about," Jake said with a slight shrug. "We were talking about it; and decided that if we're going to have to answer to somebody to keep doing what we have to, we'd rather answer to you."
A slight smile crossed Callie's face. "Not too difficult, though I can't offer much by way of support from the city." She grumbled slightly. "But you won't have <
> do mechanic work for a living at least."
"We've been doing fairly well so far, and that was with having to split our time," Jake pointed out. "Any idea what sort of changes we'd have to make in how we run things?"
"That depends a little on how much I can get under Manx's nose and how much Feral screams about it." She sighed. "But worst case scenario would involve working out of Enforcer Headquarters, even if you aren't under Feral."
"I think Feral'd pass a brick if that wound up happening," Jake smirked. "This place has a lot of advantages, really, but we can do without most of them."
"I bet." She chuckled with a grin. "The only problem with you staying here is that the city would have to find another salvage yard. It's really the only part I haven't worked out yet."
"Unless you have somebody come out here to take over the mechanic end of things," Jake admitted. "But there shouldn't be many problems with hauling the Enforcer's dead birds out here. Hell, half the gear we use came from things the Enforcers had shipped out here. The rest of it came when I mixed that in with the proper household waste. Think the only thing I haven't used is a kitchen sink."
"Oh, then we don't have any worries." Callie laughed brightly. "The mechanic job isn't required, just the place to dump dead Enforcer gear. If you can still handle that, then there's no reason you can't stay here."
"While I have to admit that having parts that I don't have to fix before I build them into something is appealing," Jake chuckled, "it'd be kinda rough having to move out of here. Especially since we've got everything we need set up already."
"Well, I might be able to wrangle some of that out of the companies you save." She grinned conspiratorially. "After all, what's a few hundred thousand in parts to defense compared to several billion in lost facilities?"
"Well, I wouldn't try using a running tally too much with some of them. Pumadyne's still got a few prototypes that sorta got trashed in the process."
"It's still a hell of a lot less than could have been lost. Like their entire market." She chuckled. "No promises, but I think I can wrangle a few things."
"Certainly won't hurt," he smiled. "So it's a matter of running the paperwork before we can stop worrying about what Feral might try doing to us?"
"That's about it." She nodded. "The preliminary copy is in my car." She smiled at him. "I just need your signatures, and make a few additions before seeing to Manx."
"I don't know when Chance'll be back," Jake admitted. "Or if he'll be up for signing it when he does get back."
"Might try arresting him, but that's the only thing he'd do if Chance didn't want it," Jake said softly. "At least according to Chance. I just don't know if Chance is going to want to think about this when he gets back."
"All right." She nodded, despite her intense curiosity. "I'll leave the drafts here for you two to look over in the next couple days."
"Thanks," he said, relaxing a little bit now that the problem with Feral was almost dealt with; at least as much as it could be. "You said a friend of yours almost knows who we are; mind if I ask who?"
"No, she wants to meet you without the masks anyway." Callie chuckled. "Though you do know her. Abi Sinnian."
"Definitely somebody we can trust. Though I'm kind of surprised she'd go to those lengths to get a few pictures," he smirked. "Would you like to sit down for a bit, or do you have somewhere to be?"
"You haven't seen the pictures yet." Callie purred. "Sure, I can stay for a while. Though she'll skin me if I stay gone too long."
Jake blushed slightly as he imagined what the pictures were probably of, but overcame it quickly enough. "Well, if you'd rather head out -- hold on, since when did Abi try to skin you for being behind schedule?" he asked, suddenly realizing what she'd just said.
"Since we're moving into a house together." She chuckled. "It's quite a bit nicer than either of us can afford on our own."
"Well, congratulations on the move," Jake smiled. "Sounds like we're all moving up in the world, in one way or another."
"Yes, we were both hoping you'd come by some evening for dinner."
"Once the changes with SWAT are a bit more fixed and Ebon's doing better, I think I could talk a certain tabby into paying a visit," he smiled.
"Just promise him a home cooked dinner," Callie chuckled. "And after dinner games, if you're game."
"Between those two, you'll be lucky if he doesn't break the sound barrier on the way over -- without the TurboKat," Jake smirked.
"Good. Wait till you see the paintings Abi has in the bedroom."
"If Chance is in them, the artist would have had to be way off if they were anything less than hot," Jake purred. "Though I think we'll be more interested in the company at the time."
"You're in them too, and they are very hot." She grinned. "Though if you come by in the next few days, we can probably arrange a special viewing for a couple strong toms."
"I'll talk to Chance when he gets back," Jake grinned, before his expression became a little more serious. "Can't make any promises though -- depends on how things go between then and now."
"I understand, believe me." She smiled and patted his shoulder. "Ebon would be welcome too, if he's interested."
"That... I'm really not sure if he'd be interested or not," Jake said after a little thought. "But I'll check with him after things have calmed down a little. He had a rough first night or two in town, and it's catching up with him now," he continued softly.
"Considering he ended up here, I don't doubt it." She nodded with understanding eyes. "It wouldn't happen to have something to do with a call to the Omega hotline last month that Feral won't talk about? About Hard Drive's lair."
"Yes," Jake said after a long moment to think about it. "Kat's been through hell. Really don't know how much more I should say."
"You don't need to say anything." Callie said gently. "But if he's the type that might find counseling useful, I know a few experts."
"Might be a good idea -- I'll ask him if he's interested tonight. Would have mentioned it sooner if we knew any," he said with a slight chuckle, though there was no mirth in the sound.
"If he's not actively suicidal, you've done a pretty good job so far." She smiled reassuringly. "I'll make of a list of the more trustworthy ones in town that deal with intense trauma."
"Thanks," he smiled appreciatively. "You know, you're doing a hell of a lot to help the three of us out, even before you knew who we were. You're definitely one of the good ones."
"Thanks," she smiled back. "You are too, you know. The city needs all of us we can get."
"Guess that means we need to stick together," he said with a nod.
"Like we always have," she extended her hand. "I hope your partner comes back in one piece."
"He'd better," Jake said as he shook her hand. "If he's doesn't, there's going to be a lot of explaining to do all around. And he'll probably be the one who demands the most painful ones."
"Oh, somehow I rather doubt that." She kissed him on the cheek with a knowing look. "Same as he'd be the most outraged one if it was you."
Jake blushed slightly at the kiss before he answered. "I'd be pissed that he was hurt," he explained quietly, "but if I read him right, Chance'd probably go volcanic if Feral hurt him. That tabby doesn't trust easily, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to be the one to betray his trust once it's given. Probably not going to happen though, he usually trusts people who deserve it."
"He trusts Feral?" She raised an eyebrow. "They could have fooled me."
"They did fool me," Jake admitted with a slight shrug. "But that's how he was talking earlier. He trusted Feral enough to be willing to go on his own, if nothing else."
"Well, keep me appraised, especially if something goes wrong."
"I will," Jake nodded, leaning forward to give her a slightly nervous, but grateful, kiss on the cheek. "I should let you get home now so you don't get in trouble with Abi," he smirked.
"Oh, the joys of moving in with an archeologist." She rolled her eyes and turned to her car. "See you soon, I hope."
"We'll call to let you know," he said with a wink as she walked out to her car.
Callie came into the house she and Abi now rented to see the brown shekat sitting on the living room floor with a photo in her hands.
She put her purse down and hung up her jacket quietly before approaching Abi. "Found something interesting while you were unpacking?" she asked curiously.
"Just my daughter's graduation photo." She smiled softly and showed the photo of a cheering brown and cream splotched shekat with black hair and Abi's brown eyes.
"I didn't know you had a daughter," Callie smiled, sitting down next to her.
"She's nearly forty now," she brown shekat smiled softly. "I had her young."
"Sounds like it," Callie nodded. "Do you keep in touch much?"
"As much as her career allows," she smiled proudly. "She's been living with the Neg'tuthij clan in the upper Nalli river region for the last ten years."
"So she followed in her mother's footsteps," Callie guessed, not recognizing the names at all. "You've got good reason to be proud of her."
"Thank you," Abi nuzzled her lover. "How did the talk with the guys go?"
"Well in some ways, not so well in others," Callie sighed slightly, leaning into the contact as she put an arm around the brown shekat. "It sounds like Feral found out who they are and Chance went to talk with him. Didn't get too many details, but Jake was actually trying to call me when I got out there."
"That doesn't sound good at all," she murmured softly. "Any good news?"
"Well, Jake was willing to listen to my offer; said he'd have to wait for Chance to get back to sign it. And they accepted our invitation," Callie chuckled slightly.
"That should be a fun evening," she purred softly. "Any date yet?"
"Not yet, and we might have a third guest coming over too," Callie smiled. "Depending on how he's doing at the time, Ebon might be coming along with them."
"I'm sure he's cute, given who he's with." She chuckled softly.
"Oh he's very cute," the blonde shekat purred. "I've got to meet with him to handle some paperwork actually. He's from off-world from the sound of things. They rescued him after he had a very rough introduction here and it seems like they've sort of mutually adopted him now."
"He must be special as well as cute given how many those two rescue."
"Yes," Callie nodded. "Special, and lucky, from the sound of it. I certainly can't think of anybody better suited for helping him out."
"To help him with dealing with what happened, yes," Callie nodded. "And I offered to help them sort that out if he wanted. But as far as helping him get used to living around here? He's not from MegaKat City, I don't think he's even from Aristal," she pointed out. "He wouldn't have anywhere to stay between sessions unless somebody took him in"
"I meant being taken in by a therapist," Abi chuckled softly. "But being out there gives him a place to be without the city right outside, if he's not used to such things."
"And where he can focus on getting used to a fairly normal life, rather than worrying about being stepped on by something bigger than the average skyscraper," Callie said, rolling her eyes.
"That too," she chuckled. "There's a reason I tend to stay late at the museum. It's quieter, even counting the various dead things that wake up."
"Well, you've still had your share of giant monsters," Callie chuckled. "Or have you forgotten a certain group of mummies you were rather excited about before they woke up?"
"Dead things that woke up." Abi smirked and batted Callie's ears playfully. "Same as the Red Lynx, PastMaster and that sabertooth."
"None of which were all that quiet," Callie chuckled, nuzzling Abi affectionately. "Between roaring, chanting, blasters and biplanes, I don't think they understood how dead things are supposed to sound."
"Well three were undead, technically, and that sabertooth wasn't dead when it started moving again."
"Still weren't quiet, which you claimed as a job perk," Callie giggled, sticking her tongue out at the older shekat.
"Yes, but it's still a lot quieter than city hall." Abi smirked back and dived to tickle her lover playfully.
"Hey," Callie protested through her laughter. "No fair!" She tried to roll the two of them over, to get a couple moments to catch her breath, but quickly gave up and just tried to return the favor.
"I'm not ticklish," Abi smirked up and pulled the blonde down for a playful kiss that quickly grew passionate.
"Well, not there," Callie smirked back when their lips came apart, trailing one hand down Abi's side suggestively.
"That's not ticklish," she chuckled. "But it is distracting," she purred and brushed her thumbs over Callie's firm breasts.
"Mmm -- I think I can settle for distracting," Callie smiled as she leaned back down for another deep kiss, loosening Abi's blouse and slipping a hand under it as she did so. Abi returned the caress as she slid her hands under the band of Callie's pink sweats.
Callie smiled at her lover and ran her hand along the thin fabric of her bra. "Want to try and make it to the bedroom tonight?"
"Maybe later," she purred, kneading the blonde's firm ass and rubbing the erotic spot above Callie's tail with her thumbs, drawing a low moan from her.
"You already know me too well," Callie mock-grumbled as she kneaded the brown furred she-kat's breast, tracing the tip of her finger around her nipple through the fabric.
Cost of Living 3: Moving Joys
Het Level is None Slash Level is Femslash Level is High Herm Level is None
18 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written February 21, 2003 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann
Setting: SWAT Kats
Primary Races: Kat
Contents: Furry. Femslash (F/F).
Pairings: Callie Briggs/Abi Sinian
Blurb: Moving, and a few errands to shocked mechanics.
Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.
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